Voices from Russia

Friday, 20 October 2017

20 October 2017. Tsar St Nikolai Wasn’t a Great Ruler… His Critics Were No Better

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For those who hold power, there’s no sin greater than the cowardly evasion of responsibility.

P A Stolypin

These days, one sees a great deal of rot written about Tsar St Nikolai. He wasn’t his father’s son… he lacked his father’s force of personality, physical prowess, and worldly experience. On the other hand, he wasn’t an oblivious incompetent ninny, as some would have it. He was an average man who had an excellent education. He was a man of good impulses and decent upbringing (he was no amoral monster). However, he didn’t have the “touch”. He lacked charisma and he lacked personal insight. His father was a consummate autocrat. No one dared contradict Aleksandr Aleksandrovich. After all, we’re talking about a man who could bend wrought-iron pokers with his bare hands! Interestingly, Tsar Aleksandr was a bit less intelligent than his son was, but he more than made up for that with good-sense, intuition, and a thorough knowledge of people and their (often nasty) motives.

In my view, Tsar St Nikolai’s momentous mistake was in leaving Petrograd in 1915. As Russia was (and is) a centralised state, the leader has to be at the Centre in times of crisis. Nikolai flouted this reality… as Gorbachyov did in 1991. The outcomes were similar, weren’t they? Nikolai’s place was in Petrograd… Gorbachyov’s place was in Moscow… but both ran away from the Centre. In some ways, St Nikolai tempted the Upper Middles of Russia (the Potapov, Schmemann, Ousorgine, and Meyendorff clans amongst them) to seize power. Remember this well… the Reds did NOT topple the monarchy and imprison the imperial family… the Whites did.

No White faction in the Civil War was for the restoration of tsardom… all were for an Upper Middle dictatorship over all other classes. That is, the Potapovs and Schmemanns would tell their “inferiors” what to do (it’s a major reason why the Reds won… the Whites were feral and amoral). That sounds like the Golden 400 in our diaspora Church, doesn’t it? None of the Golden 400 families was for a Romanov Restoration then. Their present caterwauling is empty wind and disgusting posing. They overthrew the tsar, put him under arrest, and threw the state into anarchy at a time of war and crisis. Yet… they pose and preen as the leading lights of our diaspora community.

Tsar St Nikolai remains a tragic figure of rare proportion. However, he was neither an inept dunderhead nor a great leader. He was a rather average man who had to pay for his mistakes to the last kopeck. Many have thought him the ideal constitutional monarch. His poor luck was to be in quite another position. He met his death bravely and without cowardice. There’s something to be said about that. He’s a Passionbearer… not a Martyr…

BMD

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